Louisiana added 7,100 jobs between February and March in what largely appears to be a continued recovery from the sweeping layoffs last year that were driven by the coronavirus pandemic.
Statewide, there were 1,833,800 nonfarm jobs in March, still down 134,700 jobs, or 6.8%, compared to March 2020, according to seasonally adjusted Louisiana Workforce Commission data released Friday.
The gains month-to-month were driven by leisure and hospitality sector jobs, up by 4,900 between February and March, as bars, restaurants and hotels see guests come back, especially to tourism hubs like New Orleans. But leisure and hospitality is still down 32,400 jobs over the year, or 14.1%, at 196,400 jobs overall.
Some restaurant owners have not seen as much demand for jobs as the coronavirus restrictions loosen and customers return; some have raised wages to try to attract employees.
The statewide unemployment rate dropped to 6.6% in March from 7.1% in February. That’s still elevated compared to March 2020 when the Louisiana unemployment rate was 5.3%.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.2% in March, down from 6.6% in February but above its pre-pandemic 4.5% one year earlier.
Manufacturing added 1,300 jobs over the month, but still down 11,000 jobs over the year, or 7.9%, to 126,700 jobs. Mining and logging, which includes oil and gas services, added 1,100 jobs over the month, down 6,400 jobs over the year, or 18.4%, to 28,300 jobs. Trade, transportation and utilities added 700 jobs over the month, but was down 12,100 over the year, or 3.2%, to 361,600 jobs. Construction added 200 jobs over the month, but had 18,300 fewer jobs over the year, or 13.6%, to 115,700 jobs. Other services added 100 jobs over the month, down 6,100 jobs over the year, or 8.4%, to 66,300 jobs.
Federal, state and local government jobs were flat over the month, but down 17,900 over the year, or 5.3%, to 315,800 jobs.
Professional and business services lost 400 jobs over the month and was down 10,500 over the year, or 4.8%, to 204,500 jobs. Education and health services lost 300 jobs over the month and was down 10,400 jobs over the year, or 3.2%, to 313,200 jobs. Information, which includes tech jobs but also the motion picture industry, lost 300 jobs over the month and was down 4,300 over the year, or 20%, to 17,200 jobs. Financial activities lost 200 jobs over the month and was down 5,300 jobs over the year, or 5.6%, to 88,100 jobs.
New Orleans area drops 7,600 jobs from December to January